Monday, March 29, 2010

Bathroom Renovations

PeterC is off this week so we decided that it was time to renovate the bathroom. We were optimistic that we would be able to get the shower wall board and fixtures replaced in 36 hours, leaving the rest of the week to replace the vinyl floor, vanity, and paint. We bought everything we thought we needed Friday night so we could spend Saturday working.

Let me tell you, reality sucks. We stripped off the old wall board Saturday and realized we also had to replace the drywall, which meant another trip to the DIY centre. And, while trying to install the new shower fixtures we found that the fixtures were not soldered in like the last one was. No, it needed screw attachments. Luckily, we figured that out before we made the drywall run and were able to get both things in one go.

We arrived home from town and started working on the fixtures. It turns out we are actually pretty good at plumbing and was able to get the shower manifold installed in just a few hours. We got a start on the drywall, which required some bracing and finagling to be able to attach the drywall securely to the old lathe and plaster. Unfortunately, that made it almost 9pm, so we called it a day. It also meant that I had to sleep without a shower, which I have found to be nearly impossible. I itch uncontrollably if I am not showered each night. Psychosomatic, I know, but that is just the way it is.

We got up early yesterday and continued working on the drywall. We were able to get all the drywall installed and taped by 4pm, but that ended yesterday's work. And, I had to wash my hair in the kitchen sink and use a wash cloth to at least give myself a wipe down. My mom used to call that a Whore's Bath. I call it a pain in the rump.

This morning PeterC started sanding only to find that some of the thicker spots of wall goop were still wet, so we haven't been able to get anything done so far today. We do have an appointment with a glass company to come out and measure up a custom glass enclosure for the bathtub. Until now we have used a shower curtain which had to be altered to allow for the slope of the half floor roof in the bathroom. A custom fit glass enclosure will make the room much nicer and seem bigger than it really is.

This whole process has done a couple of things for us. We are much more confident in our DIY abilities and no know we can cope with anything this old house throws our way, short of falling down...knock on wood. We also have more proof that this house is much older than the 1920's that the building heritage group says it is. While fixing the plumbing we found that the upstairs studs are actually raw, round posts with the bark still mostly intact. By 1920 they had milled lumber and would not have used whole trees to frame the house. Isn't that just the coolest thing?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring is Here

Last week I mentioned that Spring was in the air, and that I expect to see Robins soon. I was correct. In fact it was only two days later that I saw the first Robin, and Canada Geese, Starlings, Nuthatches, Goldfinches, Red Wing Blackbirds, and even a baby rabbit. The ground has even thawed enough that we were able to put up a length of fence to keep the chickens from wondering into the neighbour's yard. Spring is officially here, even if it dusted snow yesterday and dropped down to -2ºC overnight.

As much as I love Winter, I am glad to see Spring this year. This past Winter was dreary and cloudy a majority of the time and I truly missed the sun. With luck, Spring will be brighter and sunnier than Winter and I'll be able to enjoy the sun after such a brooding season.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring is in the Air

The snow is melting. The Grackles have come home. The daffodils are sprouting. Spring is in the air. I expect to see Robins in the next few days.

Monday, March 08, 2010

A wandering we will go...

So far Spring has been very lovely with temperatures hovering right around 10º C and eight straight days of sun, sun, and more sun. I know I want to spend as much time basking in a sunspot as the cats do and I figured the chickens would love to do a little grazing on the expanding patch of lawn that is being exposed. The snow has been melting quickly but has been remaining in broad patches that work to keep the chickens close to the house where I can keep and eye on them.

This has worked out well these last few days, until today that is. A huge patch of snow melted off yesterday, exposing thatch and flower beds. Unfortunately, it also melted off enough to allow access to the side walk between the house and the garage. Each time I looked outside the chickens were merrily scratching and picking away at the ground under the crabapple tree, until the last time I looked for them.

The chickens had discovered the sidewalk and had decided to go exploring. I was sitting at my desk and a movement out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. I assumed it was a wild bird coming in for a snack at the recently filled feeder. Instead, to my horror and some amusement, I see 5 hens happily pecking around in the driveway and 2 more heading into the ditch next to the road, on the neighbours side of the cedar trees.

Needless to say I headed out the door as fast as I could waddle, with a couple slices of bread in my hand. The girls have been very good about coming when I call, so I called them to me. Showing them the bread in my hand helped speed their their legs along nicely too. I broke the bread into pieces and tossed it into the chicken pen and shut them all in when they went in to grab the bread.

I not sure how I am going to keep them in the yard. Perhaps it is time to think about fencing the entire yard in again. In the meantime, I don't dare let the chickens free range unless I am outside with them. Otherwise I may end up a few hens short at the end of the afternoon.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Buyer Beware!

When shopping for those great, or not so great deals, at the grocery store the buyer most definitely has to be aware of sly little tricks on the parts of the grocers and manufacturers. The most common tricks, seen to date, is the same price for a slightly smaller size. You know the 596 ml bottle of pop, selling for the same price as the 600 ml used to. Or my favourite, NOT!, the 4 litre containers of vinegar or salad oil, only when you look at the size it is actually 3 litres now.

Well, Friday night I discovered a new and less obvious way of tricking the buyer. We needed some black olives and the store stocked two brands, Unico and Irresistibles. In the past we would have grabbed the Unico, a name brand here in Canada, even though it was $.10 more expensive than the other. Recently though, we have been trying to stretch our budget as much as possible and so have taken to buying the cheapest item as long as it is the same size. In this case we're good as they are both 375 ml.

Luckily, I have also taken to reading ingredient labels. I've found certain chemical additives really disagree with my body in various ways so I am careful to check the labels of any new brand we purchase. So I checked the label of the Irrisistibles Black Olives and see "Water, Olives, salt, ferrous gluconate". Ok, so far so good. Just to verify I check the Unico label and see "Ripe Olives, water, salt, ferrous gluconate."

Did you catch that? I almost didn't. In fact I read it three times before some part of my brain remembered that the order of the ingredients indicates what the product has more of in it. Mostly I see it in cereals, pet food, and other processed foods so I guess I can be forgiven for not immediately cluing in on the importance of order listed in the case of a can of olives.

You see the Irrisistibles can of olives has MORE WATER in in than olives. So even though you are paying less, a very small amount less but less, you are still paying for more water than olives. Just to verify I shook that cans and sure enough the Unico can had a lot more olives in it than the other brand.

So buyer beware. Read the labels and see what ingredient is listed on what order for both your options. It may very well be that the $.10 your are saving isn't really a savings at all.